It has been an extraordinarily fast-paced couple of months. Never have I ever felt the time fly so fast!
Since my last post, I have been involved in even more audits within the film & television industry. For the first time I feel at ease when approaching audit work and feel that my confidence has grown and grown. I strongly believe that this is down to a combination of experience (practice makes perfect!) by being exposed to more and more audits in short spaces of time and by working alongside approachable, supportive and encouraging colleagues. You really get the feeling of a team spirit here at Shipleys.
Aside from film audits, I have worked on several large funds. Again, I have found that the more exposure I have to these types of clients, the more confident I feel when approaching the required working papers. Don’t get me wrong through, there is still (and always will be) lots more to learn, especially with ever changing regulations and updating of accounting standards – but I guess that’s the exciting part, because as an accountant you are always growing in your career and developing your knowledge and expertise.
Audits aside, I have recently undertaken lots more accounts preps. These have ranged from sole traders to limited companies. If I am completely honest I initially felt a little apprehensive tackling these tasks (due to having worked predominantly on audits), but I would just like to emphasise how valuable the time that Seniors, Supervisors, Managers and Partners are willing to set aside in their own busy workday for trainees. In one specific instance, my Manager took the time to run through how I should approach each section of the working papers (from fixed assets through to sales and purchases). He also explained exactly what I should be looking out for when inspecting the client’s nominal ledger and post-year end ledger, and explained the kind of journals I would potentially need to put through. At the end of the two weeks (and five accounts preps later), I had learnt so much. I also noted parts of the tasks that I found the trickiest, along with the Manager’s tips on how to approach these sections and have typed these up to use as a guide on future accounts preparation jobs.
I would say that I am definitely lucky to work at a firm like Shipleys. Not only are you encouraged and given many opportunities to be responsible for major parts of a job, but there is always support and guidance from those higher up at the firm. All are happy to invest their own time in making sure a trainee (like myself) understands and feels confident in approaching the work set – something I would consider extremely vital for a trainee’s personal development.
Within 9 months, I’ve been quickly exposed to a variety of work, such as film, funds and accounts prep. I’ve also covered a few miles around the UK as well, for on-site client work and attending stocktakes. I went to Scotland for the first time for a stock take, Edinburgh specifically and I was lucky enough to meet a fantastically knowledgeable taxi driver who drove me around for the day and acted as my very own tour guide!
Shipley’s has a good mix of clients, so one week you might be on accounts prep and the following week on an on-site audit for a film client for example, working for different managers and to different time scales depending on the size of the client. So far, I can say I’ve definitely had a good breadth of experience in accounts prep and audit.
As I mentioned before, I had been at college quite a bit over the last few months preparing for 3 professional stage exams which I’ve now sat! Gosh…they came round so quick from when I started at Shipley’s in January, where’s all the time gone?!
So this is my first post since joining Shipleys in January; there’s a fair amount to report to you so let’s go!
From the moment I walked around the office on that wintry morning in January, I knew I’d stumbled on a pretty lucky place to work. Table tennis, pool, inventive socials, a very good support structure, interesting clients, an incredible work life balance and some pretty ok people in the firm have really lit the year up for me.
Then I found out about Shipleys’ work exchange programme with Australian firm Hall Chadwick. Two people from Hall Chadwick come to work with us at Shipleys for three months and then Shipleys send two people over to work in Sydney for three months. So after consolidating my presence at the firm as king of the table tennis and pool courts, I thought my luck was coming to an end, however in a Leicester City FC-esque premier league winning run, I managed to get onto the exchange programme with the infamous Andrew Howard and here we are!!
Although being a huge advocate of working and living in London, from my time in Sydney so far I have really been taken by the city. We have been put up in little area called Bronte, 10 minutes from Bronte beach and may be 30 minutes in flip flops from Bondi Beach (Sydney’s main tourist beach); along one of the most scenic walkways I’ve strolled. It’s a different vibe to Elephant & Castle anyway.
Andrew and I have been enjoying our time at Hall Chadwick. The nuts and bolts of what I’ve been doing has been the same as at Shipleys but it has been interesting seeing the different culture, ways of doing things and practices of a different firm in a different country. Undoubtedly the work has been relatively challenging, getting up to speed in a short space of time with a fair amount of work to go around; however the audit team at Hall Chadwick is great and I feel I’ve learnt a great deal. In essence, I couldn’t recommend the programme highly enough.
Since my last post I’ve been busy organising a number of socials with Shipleys in the New Year. Some of the things we’ve done over the past 6 months have included an in-house pub quiz and a treasure hunt around Soho and the West End. Most recent of the socials however was Shipleys’ Sports Day 2016.
At the end of July we all met in Hyde Park on a Thursday after work and took part in a primary school themed sports day. With events such as the three legged race and a big game of rounder’s at the end, the event was a success.
Highlights of the evening included one of our partners slipping one too many times whilst during the rounder’s matches (we are all very competitive!) and watching numerous people try and fail during the sack race.
Working so centrally in London, we are lucky to throw socials throughout the centre. In the coming months we have a casino night planned as well as our Audit conference. The Audit conference is usually one of our best socials of the year; in previous years we’ve been to Bounce and Mayfair Bowling Lanes.
Well it’s been about six weeks since my last post and I feel like I’ve been busier than ever – both in my work and social life!
I’ve attended another three weeks of college for the first three modules of the professional level: for Financial Accounting (FAR), Audit & Assurance (AA) & Tax Compliance (TC) and will be back again in mid-July to learn the rest of the content. It’s definitely a “step-up” from the E-Assessments. There’s tons more knowledge to learn and longer questions to complete, which means I’ll definitely be increasing my revision and compiling a study timetable. I’ve noticed that I tend to be a lot more productive if I study as soon as it’s the end of the working day. I live quite far from the office so it ends up working out better because it’s lovely and quiet which means I can focus for a few hours, then at least when I leave the office I actually get a seat on the train! Nevertheless, this doesn’t work for everyone, I know that a lot of my colleagues prefer to study in the comfort of their own home, and don’t get me wrong there are some days when I just prefer that too, but the key is really to do whatever suits you best.
Putting college to one side, in the office, I’ve been working mostly on the accounts for various films and TV series, which I always find exciting, especially when you see an advert for the film or watch the TV series after having worked on them. I’ve been attending a few more audits, one of which was at a film studio and the other at a place where I felt like I was stepping into Hogwarts!
Outside of working and studying, I’ve been on to two hen dos, caught up with university friends and re-joined the tennis club I used to be a member of when I was at secondary school. It’s nice to be feeling more active and to get back into the sport I used to love, just in time for Wimbledon to start up again – strawberries and cream at the ready! Then this Saturday I will be taking part in the “Pretty Muddy” Race for Life for Cancer Research UK, which is very dear to my heart. I’ve taken part in the Race for Life event before and last time the atmosphere was incredible. I’m sure it will be a brilliant day, and if it is to rain like it has been for the last two days, it will only help with making the race even muddier!
This week I was back in the office and I can see from the staff planner that I have a few different audit jobs lined up, then in a couple of weeks I have my six monthly review and the next chapter begins…